Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tastey Breakfast Idea for the Whole Family!

      Here is a great breakfast idea for a Saturday morning before setting off to take the kids to soccer or before hitting the mall for a day of Christmas shopping. Or maybe for a lazy Sunday morning before enjoying a cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle. Or even before work or school during the week if you are a little more ambitious!

French toast, sausage patties, and fruit!

      I used cinnamon raisin bread to make french toast, using a couple eggs mixed with a splash of water and vanilla. I used my bread maker for the cinnamon raisin bread, but it would work just as well with store bought bread. I love having a bread maker! It is so easy to use (literally all you do is put the ingredients in and set the timer!), it saves money, and fresh bread  is just so much better! Plus, it can be used for other things, such as pizza dough and cinnamon roll dough! I really enjoy the pizza dough, but haven't given the cinnamon rolls a shot yet!

     Along with my french toast I made some meat-free breakfast sausage patties. I love the Morning Star maple flavored ones. The regular flavored ones are a bit to salty for my taste, so the maple ones are more toned down. Of course you could also use traditional sausage patties if that's what you prefer! I also had a side of grapes, to start off my fruit servings for the day!

     The combination for protein, carbs, and fat in this meal gives your body lots of energy for whatever you have going on and keeps your feeling full! Give this meal a try sometime, its easy to adapt for one, two, or more people!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adventurous Eaters Club!

A group of co-workers and I have started an "adventurous eaters club". Every couple of weeks we pick a new restaurant with a unique menu to try. Over the weekend we ate at The Blue Nile in Ferndale, Michigan. The restaurant serves authentic Ethiopian food and it was delicious! We got an all you can eat feast with a variety of lentils, greens, and meats. We uses an authentic Ethiopian bread as our utensil and it was served family style on a tray. The food was a amazing!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

ADA's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo

      This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in San Diego, California. The event featured 4 days of speakers on a variety of nutrition and dietetics topics, a HUGE expo with all kinds of vendors from the food and nutrition world, poster sessions, excursions, and other events. It was a great way to stay current with nutrition trends, learn about new topics, catch up with friends and colleagues and network with others in the field. This year was my first year attending and I had a great time! I learned a lot from the great speakers, got to sample a ton of products, and got to explore San Diego!

San Diego!

Shipment of Bananas arrives at the Port of San Diego!
     All-in-all FNCE was a great time and I look forward to attending again in the future! Look for more posts in the upcoming days about all the great nutrition information I learned at the speaker sessions!

Cheers, Brittney

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Community Garden

     This community garden is really great because it uses land along a fence that would otherwise not be used to grows fresh, healthy food for lots of people to enjoy! If you are interested in a community garden for next summer check on bulletin boards at your local town hall, in your local newspaper or on your city's website for information! It is a great way to improve the quality of your diet, get some exercise and meet your neighbors!


Monday, September 19, 2011

More Homemade Pizza!

      I absolutely love the bread dough function on my bread maker! When I am planning to make a pizza for dinner, I toss the ingredients in the bread maker as soon as I get home from work and by the time I'm ready to make dinner it's ready to go!

Pizza dough on the pizza stone!

     This time I used homemade pesto for the sauce and added: eggplant, onions, tomatoes, black olives, and a jalapeno!

Fresh veggies for the toppings!
     You don't need to pre-bake the dough, just add the sauce, toppings and cheese and bake for ~25 minutes!

Ready to go in the oven!

Fresh, homemade, healthy, and delish!

The finished product!
     This is a great meal to make with kids! They love to help and its a great opportunity to teach them about a variety of fresh veggies and where their food comes from! Enjoy!

     I am currently looking for a good thin crust dough recipe for the bread maker, if anybody has any goods ones, let me know!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Food Trend: Heritage Meats and Poultry

     Heritage meats are from animal breeds that have been around for hundreds of years but are, until recently, rarely used in the food market. In current times, food companies and factory farms, which produce the vast majority of the meat and poultry consumed today, use breeds that have been specifically selected or designed to gain weight faster and be ready for slaughter sooner. This is of course more efficient for the food producers because less time is required before the meat can get to market, but having such a large majority of the meat and poultry come from a single breed is potentially dangerous for our health and our economy.

     Maintaining a variety of breeds in the food supply is beneficial because it prevents a single disease or condition from wiping out the main supply of a food source. Heritage breeds have survived over so many years because they are have shown adaptability to a variety of environmental conditions, diseases, and food sources. For example, the Irish potato famine occurred in the 1800's because only one breed of potatoes was predominantly being grown and it was wiped out by a fungus. Starvation and economic disaster ensued.

     Today there has been a resurgence in the popularity of heritage meats. Many chefs, restaurants, farmers markets, and CSAs are becoming interested in providing heritage meats to their customers. Heritage meats are often organic and pasture raised. Many claim that they have better flavor than traditional meats. Nutrient value compared to traditional meats has only begun to be looked at, thus far no nutritional benefits over traditional meats have been found, aside from the benefits of organic production, which does not contain dangerous pesticides and hormones.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Avoid These (literally) Toxic Foods!

     This blog post isn't about any trendy diets that claim average foods are "toxic". Instead, it is about actual toxic foods. Foods that may be perfectly fine if they are prepared properly, but are dangerous when eaten raw. Or, spoiled foods that may be in the back of your pantry from who knows how many years ago, that need to be tossed, and definitely not eaten!

     Green potatoes are toxic due to a build up of solanine and should not be eaten!

     Uncooked red kidney beans have phytohemagglutinins which are toxic.

     Rhubarb leaves are toxic to humans.

     Any mushrooms that are you are not 100% sure are edible. Harvesting your own mushrooms should only be done with the help of  a qualified expert.

     Canned foods that are dented or have bulges may be contaminated with foodborne illness. Always choose cans that are not damaged in any way.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Does Raising the Cost of Junk Food Decrease Our Intake?

     I was browsing through an old issue of the ADA Times and found this interesting tidbit:

     "Taxing Unhealthy Foods May Encourage Healthier Eating Habits: Research in the [2010] March Psychological Science finds taxing unhealthy foods reduced overall calories purchased, while subsidizing the prices of healthy food increased calories because mothers used money saved on subsidized fruits and vegetables for less healthy treats for their family".

     I think this is a very interesting public healthy finding, and it may be considered in drafting legislation in the future. Programs such as WIC and SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) may be able to use data like this to increase the consumption of healthy foods in the participant population!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

     Protein is usually seen as more is better, especially among atheletes and people trying to increase their muscle mass. However our bodies can only use so much protein and do not store much for back-up. Our muscles and cells need protein to grow and replenish, and our livers store some protein. Extra protein is filtered out of the blood stream by our kidneys and passed in the urine. Extreme excessive protein intake can be damaging to the kidneys. Conumption of added protein through supplements and powders creates what can be referred to as "expensive urine". This is true because protein supplements are often pricey and for most people they are almost entirely passed through the body without being used to increase muscle mass. For serious athletes a small amount of protein beyond what is consumed in food can be used to increase muscle mass, but this requires a person to take part in regular cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise.

    For the average person, male and female, protein recommendations are 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

     To figure out what your protein requiement is: convert your weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing it by 2.2. Then multiply that number by 0.8. The number you come up with is the number of grams of protein you should be consuming per day from animal and plant sources.

     For example: if you weigh 150lbs, divide this by 2.2 to get 68.2 kilograms. Then multiply this by 0.8 to get about 55 grams of protein per day.

      Most Americans consume way more protein per day than their bodies can use. See the list below for protein content of common foods.

Approximate Protein Content of Common Foods:

8oz beef (ground round, chuck, rib, rump, or sirloin)               56 grams protein
8oz skim milk                                                                    8 grams protein
5 oz lean pork                                                                    35 grams protein
3 strips of bacon                                                                15 grams protein
3 oz cheese (American, bleu, brie, cheddar, Swiss)              15 grams protein
5 oz Fish filet                                                                     35 grams protein  
1 Hot dog                                                                           14 grams protein
4 oz processed sandwich meats                                           28 grams protein
5 oz baked chicken breast                                                   35 grams protein
5 oz shellfish (clams, crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp)            35 grams protein
4oz canned tuna                                                                 28 grams protein
Yogurt Cup                                                                         8 grams protein
Veggie Burger                                                                     14 grams protein
1 tablespoon peanut butter                                                   7 grams protein
1/2 cup refried beans                                                           7 grams protein
1/2 cup tofu                                                                        7 grams protein

     Here you can see that a 150lb person can easily meet their protein requirement by having peanut butter toast for breakfast and a chicken sandwich with cheese for lunch! Don't worry, going over your protein requirement a little bit in the normal course of eating isn't going to hurt you. Excessive supplement use however, may be damaging to the kidneys.

     Don't forget to use the guidelines set by the USDA for recommended servings of each food group. The new My Plate guidelines are very helpful and easy to use. Find more information here: http://nutritionall-rd.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-my-plate-icon-and-guidelines.html

      Always discuss with your doctor before starting an exercise program or beginning or ending any supplement use! Consult your doctor of personal Registered Dietitian to discuss protein needs for your specific condition.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Recipe: Roasted Veggie Sandwich!

     Tonight for dinner I tried a delicious recipe from the Meatless Monday website: Zucchini Eggplant Sandwich (find the recipe here: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/zucchini-eggplant-sandwich/) I created a slight variation using squash, as well as zucchini and eggplant. I did not add the tomatoes and bell peppers. Half the fun of cooking is being creative in the kitchen! I had squash from my CSA box this week but I didn't have any bell peppers, and I used all my tomatoes in a roasted tomato recipe (recipe here: http://inspiredrd.com/2011/08/slow-roasted-roma-tomatoes.html), so I doctored it up to fit with what I had available!

     First I chopped up the veggies and heated some olive oil in a skillet. Then I sauteed the veggies until they were nice and tender.

     I used some french bread that I made using my bread maker earlier in the week and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar and added some shredded Parmesan cheese. I added some basil to the top and the veggies and voila! Delish!

     This is a great way to get your veggie servings for the day. Add a side of fruit and a dark chocolate square for dessert and you've got yourself a pretty nice little dinner!



Is Sea Salt Really Better than Table Salt?

     This is a great question, because sea salt is making major headlines lately. A lot of companies are boasting products made with sea salt as being healthier. Soups, chips, canned foods, and frozen dinners just to name a few. These company's claim that sea salt contains less sodium than traditional table salt and doesn't share the same blood pressure raising properties. All this marketing seems to be working: a recent survey done by the American Heart Association found that 61% of people surveyed believed that sea salt was healthier than table salt.

    However, the truth is that sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium chloride by weight. This means that they are equal in sodium, the mineral which can contribute to high blood pressure. However, because of the processing techniques, sea salt contains more natural minerals, such as calcium and magnesium than table salt. Some cooks report that using sea salt gives food a better flavor because it is less processed than table salt.

     Americans are advised to limit their salt intake to 2,300 milligrams per day, which is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of salt per day. This doesn't just come from the salt shaker, products that are high in sodium include: deli meats, canned soups and vegetables, boxed foods such as rice, frozen dinners, fast food, and chips. Groups that are more at risk for high blood pressure are: African Americans, people over 40 years old, and people diagnosed with hypertension or a strong family history. If you fall into one of these groups you should limit your sodium intake even more. Speak with your doctor or Registered Dietitian about a sodium level that is right for you!

For more information please see the article published in the New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/really-the-claim-sea-salt-is-lower-in-sodium-than-table-salt/?src=tp. Also visit the American Heart Association's website: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's the Scoop on Foods without Nutrition Labels?

     The vast majority of the foods Americans eat are required by law to have a nutrition label. Some foods however do not. Here are the details on the National Labeling and Education Act:

     Foods that do not require a food label include:

  • Food that is served for immediate consumption, such as vending machines, food courts, and hospital cafeterias (although this is likely changing with menu labeling laws)
  • Ready-to-eat food that is not for immediate consumption, but is prepared on site, such as bakeries, delis, and candy stores.
  • Foods that do not contain a significant amount of nutrients, such as coffee, tea, and some spices.
  • Foods for patients with special nutrient needs.
  • Food produced by businesses that meet certain criteria may be exempt unless they make a health claim.
      Currently many restaurants do not have nutrition information immediately available but do provide this information upon request, on their website, or elsewhere in the restaurant, such as on the back of the placement in fast food restaurants.    

     If you are curious about the calorie and/or nutrient content of some of the foods you are eating that do not have labels you can use a website such as Calorie King (http://www.calorieking.com/) or make comparisons to other similar foods. Beware, however, that just because two foods are similar does not mean their nutrition content is the same!


Monday, August 29, 2011

How Accurate is Posted Calorie Information?

     A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that calorie information on some food products may be inaccurate. Researchers measured calorie content of 29 restaurant foods and compared them to the calorie information provided by the vendors. Three criteria the selected food items had to meet were: less than 500 calories per serving as stated on the label, typical American foods, and be lower in calorie content than most of the other foods on the menu.

     The food items averaged at 18% more calories than stated on the label! Some of the discrepancies were very wide, spanning up to twice their declared calorie content! The food items tested in the study were from chain restaurants, fast-food and sit-down, with nation-wide distribution. In 5 of the 29 restaurants, side dishes served with the item tested had higher calorie level than the item itself!

     The researchers concluded that based on the study, a wide range of food labels from restaurants and supermarkets may be inaccurate, most frequently exceeding the calorie value posted. This is a problem when it comes to a person's effort to self monitor energy intake. It could reduce the benefit of requiring restaurants to post calorie information on menus.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Homemade Pizza!

     Homemade pizza! Made the crust using my bread maker, homemade pesto for the sauce, and topped with fresh pepperoncinis, mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, onions and Italian cheese! Yum!


Contest from Peeled Snacks: 500$ Cash Card for Costco!

     If anyone is a Costco shopper you will definitely want to check this out! Peeled Snacks is giving out a 500$ Costco shopping card! Follow this link to take the survey and be entered to win: http://peeledsnacks.com/contest/survey?utm_source=Midwest+Bloggers&utm_campaign=2ed3c729ca-CustomerAppreciation_2011_2_7_2011&utm_medium=email.

     Peeled Snacks are delicious and healthy dried fruit. They make great snacks for on the go. Try keeping them in your desk drawer at work and munch on them instead of hitting up the vending machine, replace your kids fruits snacks with them, or take them with you on to go! Their dried fruit has no added sugar and has lots of fiber! More info on Peeled Snacks: http://peeledsnacks.com/

     Check out my full product review here: http://nutritionall-rd.blogspot.com/2011/08/product-review-peeled-snacks.html


What's the Scoop with Gluten Free?

     Gluten Free has been come quite a buzz word lately. Many people may be left wondering what exactly gluten free means, and what roll gluten plays in their diet.

     Gluten is a protein found in some grains. It can also be found in bread, pasta, cold cuts, salad dressing, beer and licorice.

     Grains containing gluten include: wheat, barley and rye. Grains that are gluten free include: rice, corn, buckwheat, quiona, millet and wild rice.

     A gluten free diet is important for those people suffering from Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder. People with the disease suffer damage to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract when they consume gluten. This can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, and malnutrition. If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, the likelihood of developing cancer of the GI tract increases. It is thought that 1 in 133 Americans suffer from Celiac disease.

     The market for gluten free products is estimated to increase to around $4.3 billions dollars over the next five years. Many health food stores, and common grocery stores, have a section of gluten-free foods. Many products boast a gluten-free label. Some people and organizations are claiming to have used a gluten free diet to promote health and wellness in people without Celiac disease. However, the benefits of a gluten free diet for the general population is not known to be beneficial. Incorporating a variety of grains in ones diet, including those with and without gluten is currently the best approach to total health and a healthy weight.

     If you think you may be suffering from Celiac disease, speak to your doctor who can test and diagnose the disease. Speak to a Registered Dietitian about a specific diet plan that will work for you, and more in-depth information on gluten foods.

For more information on celiac disease and the gluten free diet visit: http://www.celiac.com/


Thursday, August 25, 2011

New My Plate Icon and Guidelines

     I'm sure by now you have heard of or seen the USDA's new My Plate icon as the next generation My Pyramid. The what and how much of My Pyramid has not changed, but the format is simpler to understand, and easier to put into practice for many people. The new My Plate allows people to see exactly how their plates should look at most meals. While My Pyramid may have left many people confused by its use of the term "servings", My Plate gives a visual that is much more user friendly. Here is a look at the new My Plate icon:

     The idea is to model your plate around this icon at each of your meals. This is helpful in making sure you meet the recommendations for each food group on a daily basis.

     The guidelines for eating that USDA recommends to go along with the new icon are easy to understand and use as well:

Balancing Calories:
  •      Enjoy your food, but eat less
  •      Avoid over-sized portions

Foods to Increase:
  •      Make half our plate fruits and vegetables
  •      Make at least half your grains whole grains
  •      Switch to fat free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk

Food to Decrease:

     Try to use the My Plate icon as a guideline for you and your family's eating pattern. Adherence to these guidelines is linked to better healthy including: heart health, weight loss, and less cancer!

For more information on the new My Plate format of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, visit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. The website has a lot of information on how to use the new icon, a Tip of the Day segment, and details on the dietary guidelines for specific groups such as children and pregnant women.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Scoop on Vitamin D

      Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. That means that it is stored in our bodies fatty tissue. It is also classified as a pro-hormone because it has hormone-like properties in our bodies. Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and development; it is needed for growth of bones and teeth; and it helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Other roles that Vitamin D might play (hypertension, cancer, autoimmune diseases) are currently being researched.
      Our bodies use sunlight to generate Vitamin D. It has been suggested that 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight (without sunscreen) about 3 times per week is enough for our bodies to generate enough Vitamin D. However, living in cloudy climates, lack of outdoor time, dark colored skin, and always covering the skin completely can prevent the body from making enough.
     Very few foods contain Vitamin D, and some foods are fortified with it, such as cows milk and some juices and soy milk. It is also found in liver, egg yolks, sardines, oysters  tuna fish and salmon.
     Breast milk is lacking in Vitamin D. For infants that are exclusively breastfed, speak to your pediatrician about supplementation.
      The RDA for Vitamin D is:

  • 400 IUs per day for infants 0-12 months
  • 600 IUs per day for people 1 year through 70 years old
  • 800 IUs per day for people over 70 years old
  • 800 IUs per day for pregnancy

     Sometimes people may be prescribed larger doses to be taken weekly.

     Always talk to your doctor or Registered Dietitian before starting an oral supplement. Vitamin D can be toxic in large doses.


Resources: Krause's Food and Nutrition Therapy, 12th Edition. Mahan & Escott-Stump

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fresh Produce!

My fresh produce for the week is all washed up and ready to use!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Sugar Content of Common Beverages

     Beverages are a major source of calories in most peoples' diets. Changing out sugary beverages for water can, over time, reduce weight or prevent weight gain. I hear a lot of people say that they don't like to drink water because it "doesn't have any flavor". Take a look at this list to see the calorie levels of some common beverages. And find below a list of some beverages that are low calorie but still have "flavor"!
     Notice how many calories are in juice, even the 100%, no sugar added juice! People tend to think juice is healthy because it is made from fruit, but it contains a lot of sugar! Sugar, especially in liquid form, is absorbed into the blood stream very quickly and contributes to a rapid rise in blood sugar. Drinking juice on a regular basis contributes to weight gain just like pop.

Beverage                                                   Calories Per 12 Ounces
Pepsi                                                                  150 calories
Coca Cola                                                            146 calories
Mountain Dew                                                      165 calories
Orange Soda                                                        190 calories
Barq's Root Beer                                                  167 calories
Gatorade                                                               75 calories
Powerade                                                             120 calories
Kool-Aid                                                                90 calories
Orange Juice (100% Juice)                                    165 calories
Grape Juice (100% Juice, No Sugar Added)            196 calories
Fruit Punch (100% Juice, No Sugar Added)            178 calories
Apple-Grape (100% Juice, No Sugar Added)           183 calories
Budweiser                                                             145 calories
Bud Light                                                              110 calories
Red Wine                                                              245 calories
Starbucks Cappacino (Skim Milk)                           60 calories
Starbucks Mocha Frappacino                                 170 calories
Starbucks Mocha Frappacino (Light)                       95 calories
McDonald's Caramel Iced Coffee                            191 calories
McDonald's Vanilla Iced Coffee (Sugar Free)            85 calories
Dunkin Donuts Coffee (with Cream and Sugar)         144 calories
Whole Milk                                                            217 calories
2% Milk                                                                183 calories

Try these instead                                         Calories Per 12 Ounces     
Water                                                                   0 calories
Canada Dry Flavored Seltzer Waters                       0 calories
Diet Pop                                                               0 calories
Crystal Light Sugar Free Packets                            5 calories
Skim Milk                                                             136 calories

     Water is always best for hydration and to quench thirst! Remember what your mom said and shoot for 8 glasses per day! Invest in a reusable water bottle (http://nutritionall-rd.blogspot.com/2011/08/bottled-water-fad.html). Always take water with you in the car, while doing errands, to work, and to the gym, that way you will never be far from a quick sip!

     Don't drink your calories!

For calorie information on more common foods visit: http://www.calorieking.com/


Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's the Deal with Prebiotics and Probiotics? Plus, a Parfait Recipe!

     You may be hearing the buzz lately about prebiotics and probiotics. But what exactly do these terms mean, what are their benefits, and where can you find them?
     Prebiotics are "non-digestible food products that stimulate the growth of bacteria already present in the colon." They may improve gastrointestinal and digestive health because they promote the good bacteria needed for digestion. Prebiotics are found in whole grains (especially oatmeal), flax, barley, greens, berries, bananas and other fruits, legumes, onions, garlic, honey and leeks.
     Probiotics are "beneficial bacteria that improve gastrointestinal health and may improve calcium absorption". Probiotics are found in foods such as yogurt (with live, active cultures), kefir, buttermilk and other fermented dairy products, fermented vegetables such as kim chi and sauerkraut, and fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh.
     Food products that contain prebiotics or probiotics can help improve gastrointestinal health by regulating your digestive tract. They either support or supply your GI tract with the good bacteria needed for proper digestion. Eating foods that contain pre- or probiotics can help make sure your bowel movements are regular: helping to eliminate diarrhea and constipation! They also help your colon to do its job better: reabsorbing water and electrolytes. This helps you stay hydrated and prevents diarrhea. You don't need to buy special probiotic pills or special yogurt labeled as probiotic. You are always better off getting your nutrients from their natural sources rather than a pill. Any yogurt with live, active cultures contains probiotics. Choose yogurt that is reduced fat and without added sugar!
     Try this recipe for breakfast or a snack. It contains foods that provide both pre- and probiotics!

Yogurt-Berry Parfait with Homemade Granola

6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins

1. Toss dry ingredients together, except the raisins. Then add oil and honey and toss again to coat thoroughly.
2. Spread the mixture on two sheet pans and bake until golden, about 30 minutes, turning every ten minutes so that it browns evenly.
3. When done add the raisins if using and let cool. As it cools it will lose its stickiness and become crunchy.
4. Store in an air tight container. Will store for about a month!

Yogurt-Berry Parfait
Plain, low-fat yogurt
Fresh berries. Choose from: blueberries, strawberries sliced in half, raspberries, blackberries, or cherries

Layer ingredients in individual sized decorative dishes.
Serve with a spoon or fork.
Works great for breakfast or a snack!
Can also serve in a plastic or glass container with a lid to take on the go!



Resources: Krause's Food & Nutrition Therapy, 12th Edition; Mahan & Escott-Stump.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Bottled Water Fad

     Bottled water is all the rage. It seems like every organization is jumping on board by marketing their own brand of bottled water. They all come in plastic bottles that often get dumped into landfills, or in the best case scenario recycled. But is bottled water really any better than tap water?

     You may be surprised to find that safety and purity standards for bottled water are often less strict than for city water! Bottled water companies are required to test their supply for bacteria and chemical less frequently than municipalities are required to test their tap water supply! Standards for bottled water allow some level of contamination by e.coli and fecal coli form whereas city water is not allowed any contamination by these agents! The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for safety and purity of bottled water, but bottled water that is sold within the same state it is bottled in is except from this oversight. Same state bottled water sales account for 60-70% of all bottled water sold!

     A better alternative to buying cases of bottled water all the time is investing in a water pitcher with a filter and a reusable water bottle. Brita and Pur are both great options for water pitchers. They come with filters that need to be changed every 40 gallons, or about 2 months for a small family with regular use. Both varieties are available at stores such as Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. Both brands also offer facet filters if you prefer. I like the pitchers better because the water is colder from the fridge than it can be coming right out of the facet!

     Some good varieties of reusable water bottles are metal, BPA-free plastic, or glass varities. Metal and BPA-free plastic are available at stores such as Target. Many consider glass to be best (if you trust yourself not to break it!) because it is the material that is least likely to contain any potentially harmful materials such as carcinogens. If you want to go for glass you can use a mason jar or other type of jar with a lid. Plastic lids for mason jars are available in the canning section of grocery or hardware stores. Metal or plastic are likely the most practical for most people. Sigg makes a great metal bottle that is leak free. Many plastic bottles come with a straw-like mouth piece if you prefer that variety.

My Brita pitcher and Sigg water bottle!

     So, save money, protect your health, and stand up for the environment by investing in a reusable water pitcher and water bottle! A Brita pitcher costs around 20$ and replacement filters are about 7$ and last at least 2 months. A Sigg water bottle costs 15-20$. So after the initial investment the cost is only about 3.50$ per month. A case of bottled water with 24 bottles can cost around 13$, so if you drink one bottle per day that's about 375% the cost per month to buy bottled water!

     For more information on bottled water regulation check out the summary of a report by the National Resources Defense Council at this link: http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/nbw.asp. A little dated but still provides good info. This one from the Environmental Working Group is a little more up to date: http://www.ewg.org/reports/BottledWater/Bottled-Water-Quality-Investigation


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dietitian Approved!

Keeping a stocked fruit bowl makes it easy for you and your family to grab a healthy snack in a pinch!


What Does it Really Mean When Food is Labeled "Natural"?

      Have you ever wondered what the definition of the term "natural" is in regards to food labeling? When you are choosing between several different brands of a food at the grocery store, are you more likely to purchase one that is labeled as "all natural"?
     The term "natural" was identified by the Mintel Global New Products Database as the most common claim on food and beverage labels in 2008. However, the term is not officially defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 1993 the FDA issued a policy stating that it "has not objected to the use of the term on food labels provided it is used in a manner that is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances".
     So this must mean that the food is in its natural form right? Not necessarily! A food that is labeled as natural could be processed, have added salt or other ingredients that not originally part of the food itself. For example, based on this guideline a food cannot have any added artificial ingredients, but it can have added natural ingredients. Some foods have dyes or flavorings that are considered "natural" because they come from other plant or animal sources, such as insects!
     The label "natural" can be very misleading, so don't necessarily assume that just because something is labeled as "natural" that it is healthy! The best foods for you are foods that are not processed or altered such as fresh produce and grains, whole meats, and organic dairy!
     The USDA is currently working to define the term natural in regards to food labeling.


My Weekend Spent Preserving!

     One great way to make sure the food you are eating is fresh and free of artificial additives is by doing your own preserving! This weekend I made strawberry freezer jam and learned to make pickles and sauerkraut!

     I recently got a bread maker and have been making my own bread which I eat as a part of my breakfast. I wanted to have some homemade jam to put on my whole wheat bread. I made freezer jam, which doesn't involve using a water bath. It is really easy to do! The process of making the jam takes about an hour and then it sits for 24 hours.

     I started with fresh, organic strawberries, sugar, water, and Sure-Jell pectin. Unfortunately the season for the U-Pick farms in my area was in June, so I missed it. I bought my strawberries from the grocery store. I used the low-sugar version of the Sure-Jell, it has less sugar but still tastes just as good! Make sure you follow the recipe exactly when preserving!

The Ingredients!

     I washed up the strawberries and cut the stems off. Then I mashed them in a bowl with a potato masher, until I got 4 cups of mashed berries. Once those were all ready I set them aside. I mixed 3 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and the packet of Sure-Jell in a kettle. I brought it to a boil, stirring constantly, held it a boil for 1 minute then took it off the heat. I stirred for 1 more minute, then added the mashed strawberries and mixed thoroughly. Then I poured the mixture into 8oz jars, I ended up needing 12 jars. You can use whatever size you want! Last, I put the lids on the jars and let them sit for 24 hours! That's it; super easy!

Finished Product!

     I put one jar in the fridge so I can start using it right away and the rest in the freezer to use when needed, and to share with friends! This is going to go great on my home made bread tomorrow morning! Keep in mind that with freezer jam you don't need to use the water bath and seal the jars. You can even use plastic containers if you want to! I like the glass jars because they look so cute! This is the exact recipe my grandma always used!


     In addition to making jam, I also attended a class on pickling through my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA - http://nutritionall-rd.blogspot.com/2011/08/community-supported-agriculture-csa.html) farmer! We made refrigerator pickles and sauerkraut, which were both just as easy as making the jam! Here's a pic of my pickles. They will be ready to go in 4 weeks!


     Overall, doing your own preserving is a really great way to make sure you and your family are eating pure and natural foods without added preservatives, flavorings, oils, coloring, sugar, and other additives. It also helps you and your kids learn about how food is made and the history of making food!



Monday, August 15, 2011

Recipe: Vegetarian "Fish" Tacos!

     Happy Meatless Monday! Did you know that reducing or eliminating meat in your diet can help reduce our global energy consumption? The process of getting meat from the field to your fork requires much more energy than the same process for fruits, vegetables, and grains. According to an article published in Scientific American in 2009 "Producing the annual beef diet of the average American emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven more than 1,800 miles." Here is a graph that illustrates the point really well:

graph comparing the co2 impacts of driving and eating

     Check out this article published in the Rock Island [Illinois] Virtual Farmer's Market website, to learn more about the negatives of meat production: http://www.rockislandmarket.com/greenhousehamburger.shtml.

     With that being said, here is a great recipe to try for dinner tonight. It is a vegetarian version of fish tacos, and is just as delicious, but with less environmental and health consequences!

Vegetarian "Fish" Tacos

Small soft tortillas
Cannelloni beans (white kidney beans), can be replaced with vegetarian refried beans if you prefer
Cabbage, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Tomato, chopped
Optional: shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Franks)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

1. In a medium bowl, mix sauce ingredients.
2. Heat tortillas in the microwave to soften them.
3. Layer on sauce, beans, and vegetables.
4. Eat and enjoy!

All the ingredients for this recipe will last in the fridge, so you can always take leftover for lunch the next day!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipes for Meatless Monday (or any day!)

      Wondering what to eat for Meatless Monday? Here area a couple of great recipes! I made enough to take for lunch all week!

Lime Cilantro Quinoa Salad
     From www.5dollardinners.com

3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
3/4 cup dried fruit (I used golden raisins and cranberries)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 bell pepper of any color, chopped

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (it's used as an emulsifier - to keep the oil and vinegar from separating)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used a garlic press)
Pinch of salt

1. Prepare quinoa using package directions.
2. Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl
3. In a seperate, smaller bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly
5. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge!

Greek Salad
     Adapted from "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

3 tomatoes, diced
1-2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Optional: tofu cubes or feta cheese

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used a garlic press)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, except the olive oil. Once mixed, slowly whisk in the olive oil. Set aside
2. In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients, except the tofu or feta cheese.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly.
4. Add tofu or feta right before serving.
5. Can serve as a dish of itself or over salad greens.

     This, along with fruit and a dark chocolate square, is going to be my lunch all week! Its a great option for Meatless Monday, and if you don't use feta cheese it makes a vegan meal! This is a great way to meet your daily recommendations for grains and vegetables! Enjoy!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Recipe: Pesto!

      Fresh basil is ready to be harvested by the bunch. So if you are looking for something to do with the abundance of basil try this pesto recipe! You can freeze it in ice cube trays and thaw it as needed!

Fresh Basil Pesto!
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced (I use a garlic press)
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. Combine the basil with the pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop and blend. Add the garlic, pulse a few more times.
2. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream while the food processor is running. Stop to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the grated cheese and pulse again, until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Use fresh, or keep in fridge for ~4 days. Or freeze by pouring the pesto in an ice cube tray, covering with tin foil and placing the freezer!

Makes ~1 cup.

Great on pasta, potatoes, with goat cheese and tomato slices on toasted french bread, or as a pizza sauce!



Friday, August 12, 2011

Product Review: Peeled Snacks!

     Looking for a great afternoon snack to boost your energy? Of course I'm going to recommend fruits and vegetables! An easy way to meet your daily fruit quota in the office, on your commute, at the park, or at home is by snacking on dried fruit! Swap out your kids fruit snacks (made with added sugar and artificial products!) for some healthy dried fruit! Instead of grabbing chips from the vending machine, have some dried fruit stored in your desk at work! Keep some in the car for road trips or bring them with you to the airport!

     One great brand of dried fruit is Peeled Snacks. They come in individual as well as resealable packages and offer a variety of different fruits like banana, pineapple, and the Farmer's Market trio with raisins, cherries, and apples! And whats on the ingredient list? Nothing but the fruit itself! No added sugars, colors, flavorings, oils, or other additives. And Peeled Snacks are certified organic! I really like the pineapple, it's a variation from the usual dried fruit offerings! 
     What's more, a study done at Loma Linda University followed 2,800 participants over 26 years and found that "consuming dried fruit three times a week or more, versus less than once a week, was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk of colon cancer."  The fiber in the dried fruit serves to dilute carcinogens in the intestines! 

     Next time you are looking for a tasty, quick, and healthy snack pick up some Peeled Snacks. Available at Starbucks, grocery and convenience stores, and now Cosco stores in the Midwest. For more information on Peeled Snacks visit the website at: http://www.peeledsnacks.com/.

     For more information on the study at Loma Linda University on fiber and colon cancer please visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802091026.htm

    *Please note that I recieved a free sample of Peeled Snacks from the company to try before writing this product review. I only write product reviews on products that I fully support and that I feel confident recommending to others. For more information please see the 'Disclaimer' page.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dietitian Approved: More Fresh Veggies!

     Participating in a CSA is one of the best things you can do to support your health and you local economy. As the summer goes on the loot from my CSA keeps getting better and better! Check out this pic of some of the fresh veggies I got this week!

Dietitian Approved

     Keeping with the spirit of eating locally and healthfully, give these super easy recipes a try sometime! 

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad:

I used arugula today since it was fresh picked from my local community!
Fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
Homemade croutons (Mix any of the following: garlic powder, Ms. Dash, oregano, or pepper  with some olive oil and toss with cubed, stale bread. Bake in the oven at 300F for about 15 minutes or until crisp)
Red or white onion, chopped
Hard boiled egg, chopped
Caesar dressing

Caprese Salad
Caprese Salad:

Fresh tomatoes from the garden, chopped
Fresh basil from the CSA, ripped in half
Fresh mozzarella from the grocery store, cut into bite sized pieces
Sprinkle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar
If you like it spicy, sprinkle some red pepper flakes!

      It is recommended that adult women consume 2 to 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. Men should consume 2 1/2 to 3 cups. For younger kids the number is 1 to 2 cups. Another way of looking at it is to make 1/2 your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal. Most of us are probably falling short on this goal. One way to increase your vegetable (and other healthy food) consumption is to turn the tables on the way you might usually approach making healthy changes. Instead of thinking "Man, I really have to cut out [insert your guilty pleasure food here]", think of it as ADDING servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If you try to meet your vegetable servings goal you will be filling yourself up on vegetables and have less room/time for those unhealthy foods. You can have just a bite or two to get the satisfaction, but you will be replacing the unhealthy foods for the healthy ones! Think of it as adding instead of taking away! 
    What exactly counts as a cup? Here are some examples so you can judge what you are eating without getting out the measuring cups every time. 

Examples of 1 cup:
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3 broccoli spears
  • 1 large ear of corn
  • 8 large strawberries
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 mango
  • 32 seedless grapes
  • 1 medium pear

Here's some examples of  1/2 cup:
  • 10 string beans
  • 1 medium orange
  • 6 asparagus spears
  • 8 baby carrots
  • 6 canned peach slices

     Other ways to increase fruit and veggie intake: add a fruit to your breakfast, bring a fruit or vegetable to snack on during your evening commute, make sure you always have at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable at lunch, try fruit for dessert! Don't forget about dried fruit!

     So, try some of these suggestions in the upcoming days to increase your vegetable consumption and cut down on your intake of less healthy foods!

For more information for fruit and vegetable intake recommendations, check out: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Grains!

     There are many varieties of grains available on the market today. Most people are probably most familiar with wheat, which is commonly found in breads and pastas, rice, and oatmeal. Other grains that have been getting more attention as of late include: quinoa, millet, and barley. Grains are a good sources of fiber and many nutrients including: potassium, selenium, B vitamins, iron, and protein.

     Whole grains are all the rage these days, but what exactly makes whole grain better than the standard refined grain? The difference is how the grain is processed. A grain is refined by removing the bran and hull and therefore is no longer "whole". Whole grains still have these components, which provide nutrients and fiber. The bran is the outer shell of the grain and contains most of the fiber. The germ is the part that would sprout into a new plant, it contains most of the nutrients. Refined grains are often enriched, to add back nutrients that are removed in the refining process. The food company essentially sprays a mixture of nutrients onto the refined grains.

      The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend making half your grains whole each day. Some foods that are available as a whole grain option include: bread, bagels, English muffins, pasta, tortillas, and pizza crusts. Make sure you check the food label on a product and see that "whole wheat flour" is the first ingredient, not something else such as refined flour or enriched flour. Due to labeling law intricacies, some products can be labeled as whole wheat, or with other misleading names, even if that is not the main source of grain.

     Here is a great quinoa recipe. This makes an excellent side dish at dinner or lunch, or as a main dish with a side of fruit and/or vegetables!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Fruit

1 cup quinoa grains
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 rib celery, finely diced
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
12 dried cranberries, cut in half
1/3 cup dried currants

1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground coriander

1. Rinse quinoa in a sieve, under cold running water several times to remove bitter flavor. Make quinoa using package directions.
2. Toast pine nuts in a dry frying pan for 1-2 minutes, until they are golden brown
3. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and stir in celery, onion, bell pepper, cranberries, currants, and pine nuts.
4. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir into the salad.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Serve garnished with parsley.


For more information on the USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans please visit: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dgas2010-dgacreport.htm


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Save Money and Slim Down by Bringing Your Lunch to Work or School!

     A great way to consume fewer calories, less fat and sugar, and to save money is by bringing your lunch to work or school. It works by the same principle as not grocery shopping when you're hungry. When 12:00pm rolls around you are feeling the grumbling in your stomach, signally that it's time to eat, you are starving and ready to grab the quickest, easiest, and possibly cheapest thing around. This is especially true if you skipped breakfast (don't do it!), or if you didn't have time for a mid-morning snack (dried fruit or a granola bar are great options!). You may head down to the cafeteria in your building, or you may hop in your car and hit up the drive-thru of the nearest fast food place. These options seem so tempting when you are famished, but you always end up regretting it later, whether it's because you strayed from your healthy eating plan or because all that grease isn't sitting well during that afternoon meeting. Bringing your own lunch can save you all the trouble!

     Try to start thinking about your lunch the evening before, after you eat dinner. At this time your hunger is satisfied so you won't be tempted to add unnecessary, unhealthy foods to your lunch box.

     Taking leftovers is a great way to stretch your food dollar (two meals in one!), and you will make sure they won't go to waste when they accidentally get pushed to the back of the fridge. In this case you can start thinking about your lunch before you even eat dinner the night before. As soon as the food is ready, put some in containers, and put them aside in the fridge. This way you won't be tempted to overeat either! I like Pyrex storage containers because you can put them in the microwave without worrying about BPAs leaking into your food when re-heated.

     If you don't have any leftovers that day or you would rather not take them, try some of these ideas for a healthy lunch. Keep in mind that if you plan ahead, make a grocery list, and do your grocery shopping over the weekend, you can eliminate some unnecessary trips to the store during the week!

     I always make sure I take fruit in my lunch. I also pack an extra piece that I can eat on my commute home, that tides me over and reduces temptation to pick up a snack from a drive through or from the gas station! I pick my fruit based on what is on sale at the grocery store. That typically reflects what is in season!

     If I'm not taking a salad as my lunch I always pack a raw vegetable too. Some good options include:
  • fresh bell pepper strips with a side of hummus
  • celery with a side of Laughing Cow cheese
  • carrots or broccoli and low-fat ranch dressing
  • string beans
  • sweet potato sticks, yes you can eat them raw!

    I usually take a salad in my lunch. Since it takes time to eat, it feels like I am eating a lot, and the bulk of the raw veggies helps fill me up! Plus, raw veggies and fruit are great natural sources of fiber! Some good options include:

  • Caesar salad made with: romaine lettuce, shredded Parmesan cheese, croutons, hard boiled eggs, chopped onions, and Caesar dressing
  • Rainbow salad made with: romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, chopped orange peppers, chopped red onions, croutons, and papaya citrus dressing.
  • Greek: baby spinach, feta cheese, kalamata olives, chopped red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, peperoncini, and low-fat Greek dressing

     Some quick lunch time sandwich options include:

  • BLT or FBLT: Pumpernickel rye swirl bread, light mayo, lettuce leaf, sliced tomato, bacon or two Morning Star fake bacon strips. 
  • Cheese sandwich: whole grain bread, 2 slices of cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard or light mayo.
  • Tuna salad: whole grain bread, tomato slice, slice of cheddar cheese, canned tuna mixed with light mayo, chopped red peppers and chopped onion.
  • Chicken salad: whole grain bread, lettuce slice, chopped grilled chicken breast mixed with light mayo, grapes sliced in half, and chopped onion.

     Other lunch items you might consider:

  • Low fat yogurt
  • Pretzels
  • Dried fruit, such as dried cranberries, raisins, or banana chips
  • Raw nuts, such as walnuts or almonds
  • Dark chocolate square for dessert!

     When 12:00pm rolls around and you are looking for a quick meal to tame your rumbling stomach, you can grab your healthy lunch out of the fridge and enjoy it without guilt! You won't be tempted to run to McDonald's if you have a healthy meal available. You won't have to worry about getting an upset stomach from greasy fast food and you won't sabotage your healthy eating plan! Sure, this takes some planning ahead, but it's worth it, and once you having been doing it for a week or so it will become second nature. You will also save money! If you spend $5.00 on your lunch each work day by going to the cafeteria or a fast food restaurant that's $25.00 per week. And lets be honest, $5.00 per day would be on the low end! That $25.00+ would be more than enough for a head of lettuce, veggies, fruit and a bottle of dressing for that same week. So start bringing your own lunch to work or school, and reduce your calorie, fat, sugar, and artificial additive intake, and save money at the same time!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Recipe: Veggie Stir Fry

     Happy Meatless Monday everyone! Here is a great dinner idea for a Monday or any other day you want to go meatless! I find that the greater variety of veggies you add, the less you will feel like you are missing meat. And if you absolutely cannot go without it, try adding a meat substitute such as tempeh, tofu, or veggie sausage. (More on meat substitutes in the future!)


     Start with the rice! When using long grain brown rice, not instant rice, it will take the longest to cook, so its best to put the rice on first and then do the veggie prep. Long grain brown rice has more protein, iron, thiamin, and niacin than brown instant rice. It has more fiber than white instant rice.

    Follow the directions on the back of the package of rice. I made enough for dinner and to take leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Since I wanted to make two servings, I used 1/2 cup dry rice and 1 cup water; stirred it up in a small kettle, and let it simmer while I was chopping and stir frying the veggies. The rice fluffs up with cooking so 1/2 dry turns into over a cup when cooked!

     For the stir fry itself, I usually use whatever type of veggies I have around. This week I got quite a variety in my CSA and I used some I bought at the grocery store too. 

     Today for the stir fry I used: 
  • broccoli 
  • mushrooms 
  • garlic 
  • sweet potato
  • orange bell pepper
  • carrots 
  • green bell pepper
  • purple basil
  • lime for garnish!

Raw ingredients

     I heated some canola oil in a frying pan and once it was nice and hot I added all the ingredients except the garlic, basil and lime. I like to use canola oil because it has a higher percentage of mono-unsaturated fats, which can help improve cholesterol levels! But don't take this as an invitation to go crazy, only use as much as necessary! As it was stir frying, I added some red pepper flakes (spicy!) and a Thai seasoning blend that I bought from Whole Foods. Once the veggies were nice and tender, I added the basil and garlic. Before I took the veggies off the heat I added the stir fry sauce and stirred it to coat everything. You don't need a lot of sauce, a little goes a long way! Last, I squeezed a little bit of fresh lime over the top.

Stir fryin'

     By the time the veggies were all done, the rice was ready too! Right away I put half of the food in a container for my lunch tomorrow. That way I wasn't tempted to eat more than I should! The rest I served up on my plate and enjoyed, guilt free!

Dinner is served!

     Yum! This is just one of the many ways to enjoyed a meat free meal! Veggies have lots of fiber so the bulk helps you feel full. Eating slowly, enjoying each bite, and listening to your body's fullness cues help make sure you are not stuffing yourself. Nobody wants to feel full and bloated hours after eating a meal! 


For more information on mono-unsaturated fats please visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262


Book Recommendation: Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

     Mindless Eating is a really great book for someone looking to make small changes that are sustainable over time. It's also a book that you can read again every so often to remind yourself to pay more attention to your eating habits. The book is interesting because it isn't directly written as a guide to weight loss, but its strategies are definitely something that if applied can lead there. It is written more as a summary of Wansink's research which is absolutely eye opening and you will surely see some of yourself in the pages here!

     One example of what you will learn from Mindless Eating includes reducing the size of your plates and silverware in your home. Wansink points out that the size of our plates has grown significantly over the years and we therefore end up eating more! We grew up with our mothers telling us to clear our plates, and bigger plates leads to bigger portions! Larger silverware leads us to take bigger bites of food and often leads us to stuff ourselves before our brain can catch up with our stomach to signal that we are full!
     Another example from the book is how we are often unaware of how much we are eating and to make ourselves feel better we round down. In an experiment with two groups of subjects at a chicken wing dinner waitstaff cleared the bones from the tables of one group and not the other group. The subjects in the group where the bones were not cleared ate significantly less, likely because they had an obvious reminder of how much that had actually eaten!
     For more interesting tips and tricks to "out smart" your mind pick up a copy of Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Ph.D.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

This week's haul from my CSA!
     Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to increase your vegetable consumption and to learn about a variety of local produce in your area!

     How it works: In the spring you sign up with a local farmer that runs a CSA and pay an upfront fee. This fee helps the local farmer to buy supplies and get the farm planted for the season. Then, once the produce becomes available, you get your share each week throughout the harvest season. You pick up your share from a location designated by the farmer, usually the farm or a farmers market in the area. Many CSA farmers offer a full or a half share. I purchased a half share. A full share would be good for a family, but for just one or two people a half share works well. I wanted to make sure I didn't get more than I could eat so I wouldn't have to waste any of the great produce! Each week's share is different based on what is available at the time. This week I got a lot of stuff: bell peppers, hot peppers, carrots, beets, lettuce, wax beans, chard, basil, and cucumbers! Participating in a CSA really gets you thinking locally. You are getting exactly what is ready to be harvested at that exact time so the produce is a its peak freshness. Having the wide variety of produce available at home each day helps increase your vegetable consumption, and you get to try a lot of new foods that you otherwise would probably not!

    If you are interested in getting involved for next year check your local newspaper or public message boards in government buildings such as the library. Also visit Local Harvest's CSA webpage at: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.